Taiwan Day 5c – Motel, Steak & Nantou Night

Returning to the car after my sweaty hike at the Tianzhong Forest Trail I met with Shuwen and we continued to a motel that we had booked spontaneously. And I want to tell you about motels in Taiwan. Because it’s nothing like motels in the US. Motels in Taiwan are all about privacy, because it’s the place you’re going to when you’re having an affair. Seriously!

The buildings are usually arranged around a yard. You pass the reception desk with your car and drive into it. The receptionist talks to the driver of the car, and won’t see the passenger seat of the car. Each motel “room” is more like a little condo, or perhaps even townhome (minus a kitchen) – 1st floor, ground level is a garage. The receptionist opens the door and you’ll drive right in. Stairs lead to the 2nd floor, where the actual room is. Ours was quite spacious, big flatscreen TV on the wall opposing the bed, a hot water dispenser to make tea or instant noodles (both supplied), and a spacious bathroom/shower area with a jacuzzi and a, ahem, “massage-chair” that has… wait, are these supposed to be leg-rests?! Why are they in that position? Oh wait, I get it… ha ha… 😉

The room had no windows. Well, it had a window, but outside the window was a concrete balcony (privacy, remember?) turned into something like a terrarium, with nice plants and such. Light fell in from the top, but you couldn’t see outside. Bonus: because it wasn’t just meant for sleeping 😀 the bed was actually soft. There also was a super-duper all-in-1 remote on one of the nightstands that would control everything: the TV, the radio, and all the lights. Downside: the back-illumination of the large wall-mount panel for the TV could not be turned off at all (that “would not turn off at all” thing would come to haunt us again, later). I unplugged it when we went to sleep.

But first, it was dinnertime. Since there was no street side kitchen in walking distance of the motel we drove into Nantou City to get dinner and then later spend some time with Shuwen’s parents. We couldn’t really make up our mind for dinner: it was Sunday evening and everyone was out, or so it seemed. There was a wait at the first restaurant that we wanted to try and we were damn hungry, so didn’t go. The 2nd one, a family restaurant (much like I described in the day 2 post) didn’t have the dish that Shuwen was craving for, so we left. A mistake.

We ended up at a “Steak House” that was packed with people, so we figured it must be good. The waiters hurried sizzling hot cast iron skillets to the tables and the sound made our mouths water. We ordered and it didn’t take long for the “steak” to arrive. Now, while technically correct, I normally try to avoid the association of “dead animal” with a meat dish, but after one bite it was clear that this was, by all means, a dead animal. It was the most disgusting piece of meat I ever saw, or sunk my teeth in. With noodles and an egg as sides, swimming in a sauce lacking definition. I finished most of the noodles and had the egg. Ice cream was included in the price, so I had three scoops before we fled. It was terrible (places I don’t get #2: this “steak” house).

We spent the rest of the evening hanging out with Shuwen’s parents (well, as far as hanging out goes with me not speaking Chinese, and them not speaking English, ha ha – her mother thankfully served some fresh fruits which were really delicious) before we went back to our motel.

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